Your “prayers not answered” means your “expectations not fulfilled.” The TAO wisdom explains why: your attachments to careers, money, relationships, and success “make” but also “break” you by creating your flawed ego-self that demands your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Monday, May 17, 2021

A Good and Happy Marriage


Foundation of a good and happy marriage

 A good and happy marriage makes you younger and healthier for longer.

A happy and good marriage is based on the following:

Caring

Caring is different from smothering your spouse with love. Caring is loving and understanding, and putting yourself in the other’s shoes to see the other’s point of view.

Caring is developing sensitivity to the fact that your marriage partner has very different needs from your own.

Commitment

Always commit yourself to changing yourself first, rather than your spouse. If you cannot change yourself, do not expect your spouse to change. Also, if he does not choose to change, any manipulative behavior, commanding, or nagging will not bring about changes in your spouse.

Commit yourself with your spouse, in the beginning of a marriage, to establishing a common value system or priorities, upon which both of you will base your future decision-making, especially with regard to money matters.

Communication

Communication is sharing both feelings and thoughts with your marriage partner.
Communicate with confidence, not with sarcasm or venom. Remember, the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James: 3:8-10)

Communicate in a timely manner. Timing is important: you can say the right thing at the wrong time, and miss the mark.

Communicate your heartfelt feelings: express you needs and wants in a specific yet non-demanding way to your spouse.

Make a list of your love needs—which must be specific, achievable, and not requiring much time or money e.g. watching a favorite TV program together.

Communicate with appreciation and wisdom.

For example, regarding forgetting your birthday and wedding anniversary, do the following:

Let him know your feelings about these dates.

Start a family calendar as a casual reminder of important dates in your life.

If he remembers them, show your appreciation; if he doesn’t, don’t punish him.

Communicate with honest sharing of feelings. Affirm your spouse whenever he shares his feelings with you. This promotes openness and sharing of feelings.

Communicate with understanding to a passive listener or a reluctant communicator.

Most men are passive listeners: to acquire his unique personality, a boy learns not to listen to his parents as he grows up into adulthood.

To communicate effectively, do the following:

State precisely how you feel and what you want.

Be selective, and prioritize you needs.

Refrain from nagging or lecturing.

To many women, talking things out will make a relationship work; to many men, continuing to talk things over means the relationship is not working. Therefore, understanding this glaring gender difference may put you in a difference perspective when communicating with your spouse.

Dealing with marital conflicts


Marital conflicts are bound to occur in any marriage due to the complexity of human personality and the difficulty in satisfying some of the basic human needs.

Decline in sexual desire or frequency

Drop-off in post-marital sexual desire is common in marriages due to the concern of sexual performance on your partner. Unlike you, he cannot fake sex. So he may resort to decreasing the frequency to avoid the frequency of poor performance. Understanding this male psychology may give you better perspective when it comes to sexual matters in a marriage, especially in a young marriage.

To help your partner overcome his lack of confidence or interest, give him plenty of compliments, not criticism, during and after the sexual act. Be patient, and more importantly, be honest with your own needs. Compromising your own sexual needs may lead to frustration, which may subsequently be reflected in undesirable marital behaviors.

If you want him to act like a young man, you have to begin acting like a young woman to him yourself.

On the other hand, if sex is a lower priority in your marriage, it is your choice, too.

Always choose a more effective total behavior that gets your needs satisfied.

Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Why You Should Eat Less and Not More


Calorie restriction, which is eating less than you normally do, can improve your vision and other health issues. Calorie restriction is a conscious effort to eating less, first by eliminating all junk foods that give you nothing but empty calories, making you fat. Then slowly focus on nutrients that benefit your health. You can slowly and gradually change your taste buds.

Studies have repeatedly shown that calorie restriction, which means eating less, or less frequently, have long-term benefits in animals with respect to extending their lifespan. That is, animals are given less food (about 40 to 50 reduction in calorie consumption). In humans, a 20 percent reduction (e.g. reducing from  2,000 calories to 1, 500 calories a day is doable) may benefit diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and nearly all age-related degenerative diseases, including vision loss.

Likewise, many eye disorders are due to aging; therefore, calorie restriction may hold the answer to many age-related eye issues.

You can accomplish calorie restriction by simply eating less gradually; such as, fasting once a week; eating twice a day, instead of three times a day; intermittent fasting, which is eating only after an 8-hour period of food abstinence.

Calorie restriction can effectively repair your DNA, increase your antioxidant defense system, lower your blood pressure and inflammation (the underlying cause of physical and joint pain), improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. In addition, calorie restriction is instrumental in boosting your brain health. Don’t forget that your vision health is closely related to the neurons in your brain.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Money and Marriage


Money matters

We all need money to survive. As a result, in many marriages, many people fight over money matters. The problem is that people have different perspectives of money-worth. For example, you may think spending $100 on a pair of jeans is worth it, but your spouse may think otherwise. To determine the real worth of anything is subjective and difficult, and therefore should be based on the man-hours spent: that is, if you think you are willing and be prepared to work those hours for that pair of jeans, then it is worth it, at least to you.

All your behaviors are your choice, and hence you are responsible for the consequences—not somebody else, not even your spouse. Understanding the principle of choice may avoid unnecessary fights over money matters 

Nearly half of all divorces in the United States are a result of money problems in marriages.

Remember the saying of John Woodbridge Patten about money: “buys everything but happiness, and takes a man everywhere but heaven.”

Money is symbolic of so many things in life—effort, self-worth, and status, among other things. Money also symbolizes the unity and oneness of a married couple. If there is no harmony in money matters, it would be difficult to have balance and harmony in other things that constitute a good and healthy marriage.

The relationship with money

Identifying the real relationship with money, with neither self-criticism nor self-justification.

If you want to get rich (it is your choice), remember these:

The essentials of food, clothing, and shelter are all you need to be content and thankful.

The love of money often destroys a man’s life and his soul.

If you want to stay rich, remember these:

The ultimate ownership belongs to God, who owns all things.

Do good and be rich in your deeds and generosity. Help those who are less fortunate than yourself.

Understanding money problems

Understanding money problems is more than half way through solving the problems of money.

The principle of spending is simple: Never buy what you don’t need with the money you don’t have.

Buy what you need, not what you want.

Create a budget to avoid conflicts:

Determine the total net income after taxes.

Decide your basic expenses (rent/mortgage, foods, bills etc.)

Total income less expenses is the monthly spending money. Divide it into two.

Spend however you want to spend it.

Do not let money become a stress factor in life: money can age you more than anything else.

Do not let money become a bone of contention in your marriage: many money fights are in fact continuing fights between partners over control and power, but thinly disguised in money matters; they are only “fake” money fights.

Destructive marriage behaviors

Problems in a marriage often occur as a result of these behaviors related to money:

Playing the blame game
Complaining and criticizing too much
Nagging and threatening to get what one wants

Divorce


A marriage is made to last. So do everything within your power to make it last.

If your marriage is on the rocks, save your marriage and stop your divorce!

Julia Smarty 
Copyright© by Julia Smarty


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Drinks to Heal Immune System


Drinks to Heal the Immune System

Burdock and daikon drink

Burdock root has been used as both food and medicine in Asia and Europe for thousands of years. Recently, it has been used as a nourishing tonic for cancer, liver disease, and rheumatism. Burdock root is a staple diet of the Japanese, who are among the people with the longest lifespan in the world.

Fresh burdock root is available at many greengrocers, Asian supermarkets, and natural food stores in the United States.

Daikon is Japanese radish. Its phytochemicals have well-recognized healing and anti-carcinogenic properties:

It cleanses the blood (the kidneys).

It promotes energy circulation.

It increases the metabolic rate (a weight-loss remedy in Asia).

It treats hangovers.

It decongests the lungs, clears sore throat, colds, and edema.

The burdock and daikon drink can be taken any time, and as much as you like.

Ingredients

One burdock root (about 24 inches long)

One daikon with green tops

One small carrot with green tops.

Preparation

Cut all ingredients into small pieces.

Place them in a pot with water double the volume of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil.

Pour out the content, and drink it.

You can repeat the process one more time. This time, after bringing it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer it for another 20 minutes. Let the ingredients steep in the hot water for another 20 minutes before drinking it.

Four greens drink

Bitter melon, a popular Asian vegetable, is well known for blood glucose control. It contains a substance similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli.

Celery is a good source of insoluble fiber as well as essential nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. In addition, it may reduce blood pressure, and block cancer cells.

Cucumber has been associated with healing properties in relation to diseases of the kidney, urinary bladder, liver, and pancreas. In addition, cucumber juice is an excellent skin tonic.

Green pepper is loaded with vitamin C (a potent antioxidant) and beta-carotene (to prevent cataracts).

Make the nutritious four greens drink by juicing them in approximately equal portions. Drink immediately.

Pine needles drink

Pine needle drink is a perfect drink made from evergreen pine needles. Select your pine needles by picking the newest green ones from a pine tree. Wash the pine needles thoroughly. Put them in a cloth bag, and steep it in a pot of boiling water—if you don’t use a cloth bag, then strain the needles before drinking. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Pine needle drink is loaded with vitamin C and other nutrients to offer the following benefits: eyesight; fatigue; heart disease; kidney ailments; sclerosis (inflammatory nerve disorder); and varicose veins.

 Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, May 14, 2021

Living in Balance and Harmony


The TAO of Living in Balance and Harmony

The mind needs balance and harmony both to control the body and to seek guidance from the soul, which supervises the mind.

Balance and harmony in the soul is alignment and connection for self-healing of the body.

Alignment and realignment

The body, the mind, and the soul work together as a system of life energy for healing. The free flow or stagnation of this life-giving energy is dependent on the balance and harmony of the body, the mind, and the soul at each and every moment. It is this moment-to-moment alignment in the body, the mind, and the soul, as well as their alignment with one another, that creates your unique state of self-healing and self-help, which is a miracle in itself.

What is your current state of self-healing and self-help?

If you are living your life as if nothing is a miracle, most probably your body, mind, and soul are in misalignment with one another. You might feel your body is not healing, your mind is strangled with sadness and doomed to despair, and you life has little or no meaning, without a goal or purpose. On the other hand, if your current state of being is one of joy, hope, and purpose, you are living as if everything is a miracle because your body, mind, and soul are not only inter-connected, but also in perfect balance and harmony with one another.

Alignment or realignment is inter-connection of the body, the mind, and the soul to achieve balance and harmony for self-healing and self-help.

The miracle of self-healing is manifested in the spiritual wisdom of the soul that guides and inspires the mind, which controls the body living in the physical world.

Connection and reconnection

According to entropy, one of the laws of physics, anything left to itself will ultimately disintegrate, and fall apart.

According to John Donne, the famous English poet, “no man is an island, and every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Essentially, everything in the universe is somehow and somewhat connected, just as man is connected with one another in a subtle way. The miracle of this connection is to provide balance and harmony to guarantee their existence and co-existence, that is, their alignment with one another.

Focusing on others rather than just on yourself illuminates your soul to see its necessity to express your empathy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness to others. But the challenge not to do that is as great as your innate desire to seek spirituality. Therefore, simplicity in living may enhance your spirituality and increase your strength to overcome the challenge to seek spiritual wisdom.

With spiritual wisdom, you may believe in the miracle of self-healing. You will then see that all happenings in your life are somehow “connected” for an unfathomable and unimaginable purpose, and that you can turn any bad situation into an opportunity for self-healing and self-help. Believe in the miracle that you are connected with everyone you meet in your life, and that everyone can be either your teacher or your student. In other words, there is much for you to learn from any circumstance, as well as from one another. This is the miracle of alignment and connection.

The TAO

According to the TAO, not living in balance and harmony is not living for life:

“When there is abundance, there is lacking.
When there is craving, there is discontentment.
Striving for power to control and influence
every aspect of our lives
is the source of our suffering.

Obsessed with getting and keeping,
many of us never really live before we die.

Following the Way,
we must learn to let go.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 75)

Letting go is adapting and adjusting any imbalance and disharmony in your everyday life and living:

“Following the Way is like bending a bow:
one end is pulled up;
the other end is pulled down.
Excess and deficiency are balanced.

According to wisdom of the Way:
we reduce when there is excess;
we increase when there is deficiency.
Balance is thus created.

According to common wisdom:
we increase excess and deplete deficiency.
Imbalance is thus created.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 77)

But, given that there are too many attachments in life, letting go is not easy and it requires profound human wisdom:

“Stilling our thoughts,
our needs become few.
Following our thoughts,
our distractions become more,
and thus living in chaos.

Enlightenment is our true nature.
Meditation helps us find the origin,
and thus ending our suffering.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52)

Attachments to the world are only distractions that lead to detours, causing imbalance and disharmony along the journey:

“The Way is easy,
yet people prefer distracting detours.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the Creator.
                
Distractions are many,
in the form of riches and luxuries.
They allure us from the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53)

No-stress living is the way to attaining balance and harmony:

“So, we no longer argue with those who are cynical.
We stop looking for their approval.
We cease taking offense at their unbelief.
We just sow the seeds along the Way,
letting the Creator reap the harvest.

To be loved or rejected,
to gain or to lose,
to be approved or disapproved,
no longer matters to us,
when we know who we are
and who the Creator is.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 56)

According to the TAO, living in balance and harmony is all about “spontaneity" which is the understanding of the nature of all things.  

According to the TAO, spontaneity is “doing without over-doing”—which essentially means “doing without consciously anticipating the outcome.”

In the universe, there is an all-controlling force that monitors everything. You breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. You eat and you eliminate. You grow, mature, and die. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism. Spontaneity creates balance and harmony, expressed in the Yin and the Yang (the female and the male). Spontaneity is the ultimate understanding of the natural cycle of all things that are beyond human control: what goes up must also come down; success is followed by failure; life forever begets death:

“The Creator creates one.
One creates two.
Two creates three.
Three creates a myriad of things.

All have their original unity
in the duality of the Yin and the Yang,
the opposite life forces that harmonize.
We experience this harmonious process
in the rising and falling of our breaths.

People naturally avoid loss and seek gain.
But with all things along the Way,
there is no need to pick and choose.
There is no gain without loss.
There is no abundance without lack.
We do not know how and when
one gives way to the other.

So, we just remain in the center of things,
trusting the Creator, instead of ourselves.
This is the essence of the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42)

With spontaneity, we become babies again, living in perfect balance and harmony with everyone and everything:

“If we are in harmony with the Creator,
we are like newborn babies,
in natural harmony with all.
Our bones are soft, and our muscles are weak,
but our grip is strong and powerful.
Not knowing about sex,
we manifest sexual arousal.
Crying all day long,
we lose not our voice.
With constancy and harmony,
we accomplish all daily tasks
without growing tired.
                        
In natural harmony with the Creator,
we let all things come and go,
exerting no effort, showing no desire,
and expecting no result.
Natural harmony is experienced
only in the present moment,
when we see the natural laws of the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55)

According to the TAO, living in the present moment is living in balance and harmony:

“We act without over-action.
We manage without interference.
We enjoy without attachment.

Effrontery is just
an opportunity for loving-kindness.
Great accomplishments are only
a combination of small steps.
Difficult tasks are no more than
a series of easy steps.

Therefore, we focus on the present moment,
doing what needs to be done,
without straining and stressing.

To end our suffering,
we focus on the present moment,
instead of our expected result.
So, we follow the natural laws of things.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 63)

Most importantly, spontaneity shows us the wisdom of the impermanence of all things—that is, nothing lasts despite all human efforts to make them continue:

“Strong winds come and go.
So do torrential rains.
Even heaven and earth cannot make them last forever.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 23)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau